Miles and memories for Thompson

Marblehead’s Ryan Thompson paces himself during a race at New Balance Nationals this past weekend in Boston. Photo by Cat Piper

This past weekend, Marblehead senior Ryan Thompson finished running his final event of winter track. That said, the memories he has made aren’t going anywhere.

Thompson competed in New Balance Nationals in Boston this past weekend, and earlier this season, won the Division 3 state championship.

“Winning the D3 state championship was big for me. In doing so, I also broke the school record,” Thompson, whose record was a 1:24.60 in the 600-meter, said. “Qualifying for Nationals in the 400-meters and 800-meters was a highlight of this past season.”

Though he qualified for the 400 and 800-meters, those two events weren’t always Thompson’s go-tos.

Thompson said he initially saw himself as a “miler and two-miler runner.”

“During indoor track, I ran the 2-mile, and it didn’t quite go the way I wanted,” Thompson said. “At that point, I have become a consistent 4×4 anchor for the team. The coaches thought during my junior year, why not try me at the 800 and eventually the 400?”

The coaches were right. Thompson, initially a distance runner, had some come-from-behind victories this past season – something he believes is accredited to when he ran distance.

“Coming from a distance background, I have a lot of endurance compared to a lot of people who do the shorter events,” Thompson said. “Knowing that I can hold on and keep digging down, finding that last bit of energy to cross the finish line and give it everything I have.”

This was prevalent in the D3 state championship meet. In the 600-meter race, Thompson was trailing with 50 meters to go, and overtook two runners to get the victory.

“I don’t plan to be losing during a race,” Thompson joked. “It’s about just staying in the race and believing, even if losing, that it’s not over yet.”

Thompson said his favorite event to run now is the 600-meter.

“I really enjoyed the 600 this year. It was kind of a perfect balance after coming from the 400 and 800 in the outdoor [track season],” Thompson said. “I felt like I haven’t had enough speed training to have [the] success that I can in the 400 yet… the 800, it’s kind of like the longest sprint, so the 600 is the perfect balance where I can go fast, but at the same time maintain that speed without burning out.”

Despite being a mid-distance runner now, Thompson said the mile will always be a “fun race” for him since it brings him back to his sophomore year where he “got his start.”

“I’ll always enjoy distance, even though I have found a lot of success in sprints. Running cross-country, 5k [races], they’re still important to me,” Thompson said.